Antaeus Theater to Present THE LIAR, Begin. 10/3
Wildly clever and a bit naughty, brimming with wordplay and swordplay, David Ives' English-language adaptation of Pierre Corneille's The Liar is next up at Antaeus. Casey Stangl directs the Los Angeles premiere of this delightfully ingenious and irreverent update of a classic French romp. Previews begin Oct. 3, with two opening nights set for Oct. 10 and Oct. 11 at the Antaeus Theater in NoHo.
In the Antaeus tradition best known as "partner casting," two actors once again share every role, working together throughout the rehearsal process to enrich the creative experience for both cast and audience. The Liaris the hilarious tale of Dorante (Nicholas D'Agosto / Graham Hamilton), a charming young man newly arrived in Paris who has but a single flaw: he cannot tell the truth. In quick succession he meets Cliton (Rob Nagle /Brian Slaten) a manservant who cannot tell a lie, and falls in love with Clarice (Kate Maher / Jules Willcox), whom he unfortunately mistakes for her friend Lucrece (Ann Noble / Joanna Strapp). What our hero regrettably does not know is that Clarice is secretly engaged to his best friend Alcippe (Joe Delafield / Bo Foxworth). Nor is he aware that his father (Robert Pine / Peter Van Norden) is trying to get him married to Clarice - whom hethinks is Lucrece. Add to the mix identical twin maid servants Isabelle and Sabine (Gigi Bermingham / Karen Malina White, each playing both roles), and a script written entirely in rhyming couplets - and the result is a sparkling urban romance as fresh as the day Pierre Corneille wrote it, brilliantly adapted for today.
Written in 1643, Le Menteur (The Liar) was based on a Spanish story of adventure written by Juan Ruiz de Alarcón y Mendoza that Corneille fashioned into a comedy of manners. Corneille's The Liar depended less on thrill and more on verbal repartée, the follies of modern courtship and Parisian life than its Spanish precedent. In writing The Liar, Corneille invented the comedy of manners, which he described as "the portrayal of social intercourse among persons of good breeding."
"The Liar is one of those plays that seem to be made out of almost nothing, yet end up being about so much," wrote Ives in an essay. "My version is what I call a 'translaptation,' a translation with a heavy dose of adaptation. I contend one must think as a playwright, not as a translator. One must ask: what was on Corneille's chest and how can I use what's on mine to create something with dramatic and comedic integrity? In other words, you have to write the play Corneille would have written today, in English. In the end, I did to The Liar what Corneille had done to his Spanish source: I ran with it."
Scenic design for The Liar is by Keith Mitchell; lighting design is by François-Pierre Couture; costume design is by Angela Balogh Calin; sound design and original compositions are by Peter Bayne; props design is by Adam Meyer; fight direction is by Bo Foxworth; and the production stage manager is Lara E. Nall.
David Ives is probably best known for his evenings of one-act plays called All in the Timing and Time Flies. Recent shows include New Jerusalem: The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza; Irving Berlin's White Christmas; Is He Dead? (adapted from Mark Twain); and Venus in Fur. He is the author of three young-adult novels, Monsieur Eel, Scrib, and Voss. He is a graduate of Yale School of Drama and a former Guggenheim Fellow in playwriting.
Casey Stangl directed Antaeus' Ovation and LA Weekly Award-winning production of Peace In Our Time. Other recent projects include Citizen Twain, starring Val Kilmer at the Kirk Douglas Theater; Lombardi, a co-production with Cleveland Playhouse and Arizona Theater Company; Mrs. Packard for USC School of Dramatic Art; The Car Plays for Moving Arts at La Jolla Playhouse and the Segerstrom Off Center Festival; and many projects for South Coast Repertory including the award-winning production of In the Next Room (or the vibrator play). Nationally Casey's work has been seen at Humana Festival/Actors Theatre of Louisville, Guthrie Theater, Denver Center, Woolly Mammoth, Portland Stage, Alabama Shakespeare Festival and many others. Casey was the artistic director of Eye of the Storm Theatre in Minneapolis for which she was named Minnesota Artist of the Year. As a Fellow at AFI's prestigious Directing Workshop for Women Casey directed the short film C U @ ED'S, which screened at film festivals across the country and won numerous awards.
Antaeus is a cooperative theater ensemble founded to empower the actor and to bring classical theater to Los Angeles. The company exists to create a family of artists and audiences and is dedicated to exploring stories with enduring themes. Taking their company name from the Titan who gained strength by touching the Earth, Antaeus members - many of whom are familiar to film and television audiences - regain their creative strength by returning to the wellspring of their craft: live theater. Members of the company span a wide range of age, ethnicity and experience; they have performed on Broadway, at major regional theaters across the country, in film, television and on local stages, and are the recipients of numerous accolades including Tony, Los Angeles and New York Drama Critics Circle, Ovation, LA Weekly, and Back Stage Garland nominations and awards. Audiences, who rarely see an understudy due to Antaeus' trademark "partner casting," frequently return to see the same play in the hands of an equally excellent but very different set of actors.
Performances of The Liar take place Oct. 10 through Dec. 1 on Thursdays and Fridays @ 8 pm; Saturdays @ 2 pm and 8 pm; and Sundays @ 2 pm (no matinee performance on Saturday, Oct. 12, dark Thursday, Nov. 28); There will be six previews, Oct. 3-Oct. 9: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Tuesday and Wednesday, all at @ 8 pm, and Sunday @ 2 pm. Tickets to the Opening Night performances on Oct. 10 and Oct. 11 are $34, after which all tickets are $30 on Thursdays and Fridays and $34 on Saturdays and Sundays; previews are $15. The Antaeus Company is located at 5112 Lankershim Blvd in North Hollywood,CA 91601. Parking is available for $7 in the lot at 5125 Lankershim Blvd. (west side of the street), just south of Magnolia. The theater is air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible. For reservations and information, call 818-506-1983 or go to www.antaeus.org.